Hearing my name, one could think that I am a variety of the precious stone « geolith », but its etymology reveals that GEOLITT is about geography, computer science and literature, geomatics applied to literary texts. I am a website of a special kind which allows internet users to find, on an interactive map of Sri Lanka, excerpts of texts in French written in and on various places of Sri Lanka.
The texts about Taprobane, Ceylon, Sri Lanka, presented in Geolitt have been written between the 16th and the 21st Century by French Authors, authors of the French-speaking world, or texts translated into French. All these texts are about places with a cultural and touristic interest. And they are many. These published reports of travellers, well-known or unknown, focus on historical sites, landscapes and everyday life… All texts are illustrated with pictures (photographs, engravings or drawings found or not in the original version of each of these books). The user experience is exciting, even for those who don’t fully grasp the French language.
Conceived during the General Conference on Teaching/Learning French which took place in Kandy in 2014, I grew up in relation with the festivals of La Francophonie organized in Sri Lanka. I am made available on-line starting from the 7th of July 2016 at the occasion of the fifth French Spring Festival, organized by the French Embassy and the network of Alliance Française in Sri Lanka, including Alliance Française de Kotte in Colombo, the only official Alliance Française in the Western province recognized by French and Sri Lankan Authorities, and Alliance Française de Kandy, Matara-Galle and Jaffna.
My home port is the Centre for Art and Culture Suriyakantha in the district of Kandy. My reference territory is Sri Lanka, from Point Pedro to Dondra Head, from Kachchatheevu Island to Sangaman Kanda. GPS data are used to place texts on the territory. Among my main group of friends are the Sri Lankan Association of Teachers of French (APF), the Departments of Foreign languages of the main Sri Lankan Universities (Peradeniya, Kelaniya…) and the members of the French Alumni. But it’s open to all: any reader, every person of goodwill is welcome to join the circle and propose their favorite texts about various places in Sri Lanka to enrich my database and enchant my readers…
This website doesn’t intend to compete with guidebooks; it likes to give a voice - at each place whenever it is possible – to Authors who have shared their impressions and knowledge, regardless of the period when it has been written. Most of these rare or old books are accessible only in distant libraries.
This new experience gives them a new life.
The first beneficiaries are the Sri Lankans speaking or learning French and all those who have a passion for travel accounts and diaries.
Persons of any nationality—Sri Lankan, foreign residents or visitors—could contribute to the construction and the development of the Website. The most important aspect is to be in tune with the spirit of this literary project: help to forge useful and enjoyable links between writers, readers and travelers. Following the pictures linked to each extract will be another way to discover this unusual Website. And, perhaps, in the future, some translations will also be available.